Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged G20 member nations to focus on the most vulnerable citizens of the world and strengthen Multilateral Development Banks to meet global challenges.

Modi was addressing the inaugural session of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ (FMCBG) meeting under India’s G20 Presidency, here.

“I would urge that your discussions focus on the most vulnerable citizens of the world. Only by creating an inclusive agenda will the global economic leadership win back the confidence of the world. The theme of our G20 Presidency also promotes this inclusive vision ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’,” he said in a recoded video message. The first Ministerial-level dialogue will be spread over multiple sessions aimed at fostering global economic cooperation. It will focus on issues relating to the International Financial Architecture, Sustainable Finance, Infrastructure, Financial Sector and Financial Inclusion.

Also read: G-20 nations formulate 4-point common agenda on agriculture

“Even as the world population has crossed 8 billion, progress on Sustainable Development Goals seems to be slowing down. We need to collectively work to strengthen Multilateral Development Banks to meet global challenges such as climate change and high debt levels,” he said.

Modi said he is aware of the challenge G20 member countries face. “You represent the leadership of the global finance and economy at a time when the world is facing serious economic difficulties. The Covid pandemic has delivered a once-in-a-century blow to the global economy. Many countries, especially developing economies, are still coping with its after-effects,” he said.

Also read: G-20 host India taps soft power as it champions New World Order

He drew attention to rising geo-political tensions in different parts of the world. There are disruptions in global supply chains. Many societies are suffering due to rising prices. And, food and energy security have become major concerns across the world. Even the financial viability of many countries is threatened by unsustainable debt levels. Trust in international financial institutions has eroded. This is partly because they have been slow to reform themselves, he said.

“It is now up to you - the custodians of the leading economies and monetary systems of the world, to bring back stability, confidence and growth to the global economy,” he said, while adding that it is not an easy task. However, he hoped that delegates will draw inspiration from the vibrancy of the Indian economy. “Indian consumers and producers are optimistic and confident about the future. We hope that you will be able to transmit the same positive spirit to the global economy,” he said.

Innovations in digital finance

Without taking the name of crypto, he said that in the world of finance, technology is increasingly dominant. During the pandemic, digital payments enabled contactless and seamless transactions. However, “some recent innovations in digital finance also pose risks of destabilisation and misuse. I hope that you will explore how the power of technology can be used for good, while developing standards to regulate its possible risks. India’s own experience can be a model,” he said.

He highlighted that over the past few years, India has created a highly secure, highly trusted, and highly efficient public digital infrastructure. India’s digital payments eco-system has been developed as a free public good. This has radically transformed governance, financial inclusion, and ease-of-living in India. India has introduced UPI for foreign tourists also, even if they do not have local mobile numbers or bank accounts here

This allows our G20 guests to use our digital payments platform UPI. As you make use of it and experience its ease of use, you will understand why Indian consumers have adopted it so willingly. Examples like UPI can be templates for many other countries, too. We would be happy to share our experience with the world. And, the G20 can be a vehicle for this,” Modi said.